Chelmsford City Theatres are teaming up with West End star Lee Mead to bring an intimate production of the award-winning play ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ to the city this June. Lee, well known for his roles in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ and BBC dramas ‘Casualty’ and ‘Holby City’, will both star in and co-produce Frank McGuinness’s play.
The production will be staged in the Cramphorn Studio – a perfect space for this moving tale of survival, hope, and the human spirit. With seating for around 140 people, audiences are promised a close-up and emotional experience.
The hostage drama was inspired by the stories of Brian Keenan, John McCarthy, and Terry Waite, who were kidnapped in Beirut in the 1980s. The Irish dramatist’s powerful play tells the story of an English academic, an Irish journalist, and an American doctor, all held hostage by unseen captors in Lebanon.
The play was first staged in 1992; it won a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play on Broadway and was also nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 1993. Playwright Frank McGuinness has given his personal approval for this new production.
The venture is Chelmsford City Council’s first drama co-production for many years. Artistic Director Ian Knowles says: “There’s a huge potential for Chelmsford to raise its artistic profile, and I’ve been looking for the right professional artistic partner for the theatre. I’m really excited that Lee, who I’ve known for 20 years, has agreed to come on board to help Chelmsford City Council realise its ambitious plans to put culture at the heart of the city.”
Lee Mead has had a long relationship with the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford, starring in his first semi-professional role as a student with the Chelmsford Ballet Company. Lee says he’s been waiting for an opportunity like this: “I’ve been looking for a play I feel passionate about to make a return to the stage in a dramatic role. The story of ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ seems more relevant than ever, and I’m thrilled to be bringing this production to a new audience here in Chelmsford.”
“Leading West End producers have already begun to express an interest in an option for the play to transfer, or possibly tour the production in the UK during 2020.”
Councillor Julia Jeapes says the project demonstrates that Chelmsford is serious about putting the city on the map for theatregoers: “We’re delighted that Chelmsford City Theatres are investing in and creating this new production with Lee Mead and Lee Mead Productions Ltd. It’s an exciting partnership, and a fantastic opportunity for the city to be at the forefront of creative and artistic excellence in Essex.”
‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ premieres on Monday 10 June for one week only. Evening performances start at 7.45pm, with a Wednesday and Saturday matinee at 2.00pm. To find out more, visit the website www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres or contact the Box Office on 01245 606505.